I have fallen in love with a flower this spring that I thought was so passé. Shame on me. Behold the humble pansy.
Look closely—those periwinkle flowers are pansies.
We flew out of Salt Lake City on our way to New York, and while at Temple Square, I noticed pansies everywhere. They were used as fillers in flower beds and flower boxes, and they were used to underplant taller flowers or as trailing plants—I had never seen them used this way before. I have decidedly not been a fan of pansies for years, so I was surprised that I actually kind of liked them. Correction: I actually quite liked them.
Then in New York City, I saw them again, used in the same way. On the Upper East Side, planters and flowerbeds were filled with tall, beautiful red tulips and masses of shorter pale-yellow pansies. In my mind, NYC is the bastion of all things beautiful, so I figured I was onto something when I decided pansies must be the “it” flower for gardening this year, especially when planted under other flowers instead of solo.
I don’t know if that’s really true or not, but when I got home and started planning my window boxes, I decided to stray from my all-geranium look and add some pansies too. I love red, orange, and yellow flowers together, so I bought pansies in those shades to underplant by geraniums.
Meanwhile, my sister down the street filled this urn with orange and periwinkle pansies, and man, there could not be a more striking combination. Again, she used them as filler.
There are two major advantages to using pansies: They should blossom all summer long if you keep up on the deadheading, and they are frost resistant. In fact, a nursery worker told me you can plant pansies in the fall, cover them with mulch for winter, and they’ll be raring to go come spring. I have my doubts about that, but if it’s true, that’s cool. Anyone out there tried that before?
So here’s to a new life for a flower I had written off as blah. And here’s to gardening this spring! Are any of you busy planting? What do you think about pansies, and what are your go-to flowers from flowerbeds? •